Who will lead two Maguindanao provinces? Comelec to issue legal opinion soon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will soon release its legal opinion on which government body should determine the new officials who will lead the two provinces created after the division of Maguindanao.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Monday, Comelec chairman George Garcia said that the opinion, which will be issued in the "next few days," will cover a provision under Republic Act 11550, or the Charter of the Provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.

The measure presupposes that the elective officials of the newly created provinces have already been elected during the May 2022 national and local elections.

Garcia said the validity of the provision has to be clarified since the plebiscite occurred after the May polls.

"We will be coming out with that opinion in the next few days. I don't want to preempt the action of the Comelec on the matter, on what will be our take on who should sit as the new governor of the newly created provinces," Garcia said.

"We do not have a participation in the determination of who should sit as officers of the newly created provinces," he said, when asked which body will likely decide on the matter. "Under the Local Government Code, it should be the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government)."

The Comelec on Sunday announced the division of Maguindanao into the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur.

Garcia called the plebiscite "very successful" with more than 99% of the voters in favor of ratifying the law.

READ: Comelec announces split of Maguindanao into two provinces